Black-Eyed Beans with Gari and Plantains

Our fourth reci­pe comes from Gha­na in West Afri­ca and is pre­sen­ted by The­re­sa Messerer.

You may well be thin­king that my name has not­hing to do with Afri­ca … but Eric, my partner’s, does. He was born in Togo and grew up in Gha­na, and I love his reci­pes and cuisine.

Fufu is without a doubt the dish that is most typi­cal of West Afri­ca. Fufu is a mash made from warm water and cas­s­a­va flour that can be ser­ved with a varie­ty of sau­ces. But belie­ve me, mashing fufu to make it nice and smooth and get­ting just the right balan­ce bet­ween water and cas­s­a­va flour can be hard work without a bit of know-how. I’ve the­re­fo­re deci­ded to show you a dif­fe­rent, but equal­ly deli­cious dish ins­tead – beans and gari with ripe­ned plantain.

Gari (also spelt “gar­ri”) and beans are pret­ty much stap­le foods in West Afri­ca. Gari, obtai­ned from cas­s­a­va, is used in a wide varie­ty of dif­fe­rent ways: fried, boi­led, mas­hed, gra­ted or ground. When my friends ask me what cas­s­a­va is, I often say that it loo­ks like an Afri­can pota­to. Cas­s­a­va is also very com­mon­ly found and extre­me­ly popu­lar in pla­ces like Bra­zil, Mau­ri­ti­us and other parts of Africa.

The­re must be a thousand varia­ti­ons of this dish and various ways of pre­pa­ring it and pep­ping it up with other ingredients.

Here’s my reci­pe – I hope you enjoy giving it a go too:

  • Por­ti­ons: 4
  • Pre­pa­ra­ti­on time: 30 minutes
  • Coo­king time: 45–60 minutes
  • 2 cups balck-eyed beans
  • 2 plan­tains (the riper the better)
  • 2 oni­ons
  • 500 ml vege­ta­ble oil
  • To tas­te: gari (cas­s­a­va semolina)
  • salt

Black-eyed beans are coo­ked in the same way as rice, with ple­nty of water and a litt­le salt. If the water boils away too quick­ly, sim­ply add some more. A lot of water is nee­ded to ensu­re that the beans turn out nice and soft. Sim­mer the beans for a total of 45–60 minu­tes (+/-) until they are soft.

While the beans are coo­king, cut the oni­ons into half rings and fry in ple­nty of vege­ta­ble oil. The oni­ons should swim a bit in the oil, which we will be using again later.

Sli­ce the plan­tains and fry in the vege­ta­ble oil until gol­den brown. It best to use a litt­le more oil here too, so that the plan­tains stay nice and moist.

Once ever­ything is sizz­ling and coo­ked through, serve. 

When ser­ving up, Eric is very par­ti­cu­lar about the order of things: First the beans. Then drizz­le some oni­on and some of the oil used to fry the oni­ons over the beans. This gives the gari a nice cris­py tex­tu­re. To finish off the dish, place the plan­tains on top.

Bon appé­tit!

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